As those of you who read our last blog will know, Gemma and I recently got engaged. I proposed to her next to a lake in the Amazon jungle at sunset in Spanish, and I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty proud of that story…
But before we went travelling I asked my recently married mate Luke if he had any suggestions for how I should propose. He replied “just don’t do what I did”. Luke proposed to his now wife in Tasmania, naked, straight after he got out of the shower. He’d taken her for several romantic meals in Tasmania before that but kept wussing out. None of us knew quite why he’d proposed in this way, it seemed stupid. But he’s a lucky man and despite his failings, she still said yes.
It all could have gone so much worse though, so here are my top ten bad ways to propose whilst travelling:
1. Towards the end of a trek – I had planned to propose to Gemma at Machu Picchu because I thought it would be romantic to shout my love from the top of a mountain. I decided it wasn’t the best idea just before we got to the sun gate when I realised how dirty, exhausted and ill we both were. Not only that, but there were about 50 people at the sun gate, and as nice as I’m sure they all were, I didn’t want it to seem like I was shouting my love for all of them.
2. To someone you don’t know for dowry reasons – It’s easy to run out of money whilst travelling, it’s can also seem quite easy for western men to meet a local girl in some countries. And in some of these countries dowry is a practiced tradition. I’m just saying… Don’t.
3. Drunk – To make up for the fact that you’ve just bought the ‘lucky lady’ some bad street chicken.
4. By hiding the ring in ‘exciting’ food – I’d have loved to have hidden the ring in a tarantula or a guinea pig or something but I don’t know if the first thing I’d want to do as a newly engaged man would be to hold back my finances hair as she throws up.
5. In front of hostel staff in South America AFTER staying in their matrimonial sweet – It’s very catholic over there.
6. At a full moon party – It really won’t sound like you mean it, especially if you then start to propose to everyone else on the beach, pass out and wet yourself.
7. Accidentally and without a ring – I’ve done this before when Gemma and I first moved to London. I accidentally (but enthusiastically) bumped her head on the roof of a London bus whilst picking her up to spin her around. To make it up I hungoverly dropped to one knee and proposed. She told me to stop being stupid and to get up. It wasn’t the gushing yes I’d been expecting…
8. Just before a long bus journey – Because no one likes to see a fully grown man cry and beg for 20 hours.
9. By blurting it out and then taking it back – Even if you really mean it this will give the game away. You’ll probably get an answer before you wanted one and then when you take it back the girl might feel a bit cheated of a ring (and of course, a long and happy life together).
10. On the way home – If anything says ‘I’ve really not thought about this’ it’s proposing quickly in the airport after a 6 month trip together.
Ok, so there it is. But after my smug first paragraph I feel I should confess. I did propose next to a lake in the Amazon jungle at sunset in Spanish, but a few days before that I also proposed using techniques from number 3 and number 9. We were in La Paz, we’d just been caught in a cold Carnival waterfight, we were drunk and I’d promised to go out to look for food to bring back for us…
“I couldn’t find much” I said opening the door “I’ve bought you some sh*t street chicken” and then, feeling like I needed to make it up to Gemma, I followed that with “will you marry me”. I produced the box the ring was in, and then instantly realising my mistake I refused to give it to her.
Now, I don’t know why I proposed like this. And Luke, now I understand what happened to you, I can only say that I share your failings… We are both pathetic men. But what I will also say, is that Gemma said yes. And what kind of girl says yes to a proposal like that.
Maybe, just maybe, I’m better than her.